Working with wolves in the field of management trainings
Friday afternoon. The sky is grey and any moment it could start raining. A
group of ten managers is standing together - magnetized - waiting for the
beginning. A horse-drawn carriage is going to bring us to the wolf’s bawn.
Today’s program is a leadership training. Everybody is closing ranks as it is
quite freezing outside. Smothering deeply into some woollen blankets my
audience is listening to me. On the way to the wolf’s bawn I am pointing out
the specific characteristics of the wolves. Then, finally, we arrive. However,
we cannot see any wolf yet. Curiously and excitedly, the participants hop off
the carriage. I hand out the manuals with some key questions for watching the
wolves and their behaviour. Eventually, we recognize the silhouette of a wolf
between the trees. Time to start working.
Working with animals is settled within bionics. Lately, learning from nature,
especially from animals, is becoming an important topic within (senior)
management development, for example in form of leadership trainings with
horses. One question in doing so at once is coming to mind: can we adapt these
approaches one-to-one from animal’s life to ours? And what makes working with
animals so interesting?
- Working with animals is giving you images that make you cogitate.
- Animals are acting as metaphors that innervate you to change your
- Participants will be outwardly and inwardly moved by the animals.
In this way, a training with animals is less about adapting animal behaviours
but more about getting inspired by watching them and working with them.
Because of this reason working with animals is becoming a more and more
important part of experiential learning. When working with animals,
participants usually tend to change behaviour more easily.
Why now working with wolves?
- The wolf is a hard-bitten and persistant survivalist.
- The wolf is living in packs led by an alpha pair.
- Within their packs they have a distinctive social structure.
- They have complex communication ways.
- They can accommodate well to their environment.
The wolves' behaviour will be highlighted by some tangible examples.
During the mating season there are a lot of hierarchy fights in a pack. They
are about who will be the one to reproduce. A subordinated wolf forms alliances
with other wolves within the pack. He is making contact with “accomplices”
trying to make them join him affirmatively. Once he has formed enough alliances
he can risk a fight with the alpha wolf. The wolves which joined him before
will support him in this fight.
At different times wolves start howling together. This mostly happens before
roaming their patch or before going hunting. Before the howling starts the
wolves are coming together, wagging their roods, touching each other, and
licking their muzzles.
During a training with wolves, the participants will be watching the animals
having in mind some key questions for watching the wolves and their behaviour.
During the subsequent discussions the participants can reflect their own